Southern Louisiana has places where it has rained for 28 of the past 29 days and left most of us waterlogged, but there are places in our country that are still battling drought.
While this constant rain has put a damper on most fishing plans, the silver lining is that there will likely be plenty of fresh water when the ducks decide to make their annual trip south.
Yes, ducks. Teal season is nearly two weeks away, and there’s good news for those brave the mosquitoes and gnats for this special season from September 10-25.
The blue-winged teal – the first migrating ducks – turned frowns into smiles when the annual spring breeding duck survey was released last week.
The survey, the first since 2019 (the 2020, 2021 surveys were suspended by the pandemic) showed bluewings were the second most abundant breeders in overflow areas of Montana, the Dakotas and Canadian provinces. Number of bluewings: 6.49 million, 27% above the long-term average and 19% above the 2019 population. Bluewings constitute the special season in September.
A frown persisted over the number of teal: 2.17 million, down 32% from 2019, but equal to the long-term average set since the survey began in 1955.
“Teal numbers are the surprise of the survey,” said former LSU wildlife professor Frank Rohwer. “It’s the opposite of what you would expect, with blue wings so high and green wings down.”
Rohwer took over the reins of Delta Waterfowl.
The total number of breeding ducks in the survey was 34.2 million ducks. This is 12% lower than in 2019 and 4% lower than the long-term average.
Good news for the duck season came as the survey showed that the number of ponds in May reached 5.45 million ponds, 9% more than in 2019 and 4% more than long-term.
This is essential, as the survey counts breeding ducks and not the broods they produce. The increase in the number of ponds means more new birds on migration.
“Given widespread dry conditions last year across much of the grassland where ducks breed, it is not surprising that breeding numbers are lower than they have been for most of the 2010s” , said the Delta Waterfowl scientist. Chris Nicolai said. “The good news is that much of the prairie—especially the Dakotas, Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan—has been very wet this spring. Duck production is expected to be good to excellent in the eastern portion of the prairie and in northern areas as well.
Most of the season framework – hunting days and daily bag limits – is based on the breeding population of mallards. It was 7.22 million, 9% below the long-term average and the lowest since 2005.
Estimates of other species showed gray ducks at 2.67 million, down 18% but 30% above the long-term average; the wigeon at 2.13 million, down 25% from 2019 and 19% below the long-term average; and shovelers at 3.04 million, 15% above the long-term average.
Pintails continued to slide with an estimate of 1.78 million, 21% below 2019 and 54% below the long-term average to reach the lowest number in survey history.
Overall, it seems waterfowl biologists are expecting a strong fall flight due to the abundance of water on the breeding grounds and recent sightings of heavy broods hatched over the past three months.
The final decision on any increase or decrease in red snapper allocations is in the hands of the US Department of Commerce after Thursday’s vote by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council.
The red snapper catch limit amendment framework report showed that the council opted to reduce the overfishing limit, which in turn increases allowable catches, annual catch limits and catch targets annual.
The fly in that ointment is the council’s statement, “The state-specific annual private angling catch limits are calculated based on the assumption that the framework action to calibrate recreational data and recreational catch limits are approved and enforced by the Secretary of Commerce.”
So the final allocations to each of the five Gulf states are “calibrated,” or how the federal fisheries people will compare each state’s reports to what the federal fisheries want to use in its allocation formula.
There was good news in the report in that the council’s science and statistics committee used what it called “new catch advice generated using updated estimates of absolute abundance red snapper derived from the Great Red Snapper Count (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas). ) and by LGL Ecological Associates, Inc. (Louisiana).
There is more …
Through August 14, LA Creel’s estimate shows our state’s private recreational snapper landings increased to 589,561 pounds (73%) of our state’s 809,315-pound annual allocation.
The reminder this week is that the final four-day snapper season begins Friday with Labor Day weekend, and a continued minimum size of 16 inches with a limit of three fish per day.
After two reports from the Law Enforcement Division of fishermen who were screening snapper before landing their catch, sound advice is to keep your catch intact until you unload it at a dock or marina.
An update on speckled trout, considerations for lowering daily trap limits during the Spring Bayou drawdown, and advice to establish commercial menhaden reporting requirements top the agenda of the meeting. Wildlife and Fish Commission Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Baton Rouge.
The seven-member panel will also consider an emergency declaration to fix the 2022-2023 oyster season on public spaces.
You are kidding!
Law Enforcement Division officers cited at 32 Darious Johnsonof Zachary, for allegedly taking a deer during a closed season – Aug. 5.
The report said officers were notified and attended Johnson’s home on August 11 where they allegedly “found deer parts from a recently harvested deer.” During questioning, Johnson admitted to harvesting a six-pointed deer in East Baton Rouge Parish on August 5.
If convicted, Johnson faces fines of up to $950, 120 days in jail and $1,624 in civil restitution penalties for the deer’s replacement value.
Carl Cressionie58, was jailed at Lafourche Parish Jail after Wildlife and Fisheries received blood test results showing he was over the legal limit after driving a boat that overturned and ejected his 10-year-old passenger and life jacket in the intra-coastal canal.
It was cited by DWI, reckless operation and “…vehicle negligent injury.”